The project, Large-Format, Low-Cost Metal AM for Army Applications, was one of 23 selections from 189 proposals submitted to the Army’s X19.4 topic call: Expeditionary Technology Search (xTechSearch) Dual-Use Technologies to Solve Challenging Army Problems. The accelerated Phase I effort will leverage Open Additive’s 24” x 24” (600 mm x 600 mm) large-format laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) testbed to pave the way for future applications. .
The effort complements other active projects in large-format metal 3D printing led by the company, including SBIR Phase II/II+ projects funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (Open Systems Platform for Multi-Laser Additive Manufacturing) and Air Force Test Center (Advanced Runway Texture Imitations for Specialized Tiles Fabrication via Selective Laser Melting).
Open Additive is a very interesting metal 3D printing hardware startup offering, among other products, custom, configurable metal laser PBF systems through an immediately accessible online configurator. The company’s PANDA system is tailored to enable researchers, technology developers, and part producers to create and innovate on an open, high-performance laser powder bed platform. Key features include multiple build size options, configurable lasers/optics, control software, advanced process monitoring as well as no materials restrictions and safe processing of reactive powders.
Open Additive Army ContractEarlier last year the company had also been awarded a prototype demonstration contract to evaluate its PANDA Metal 3D Printing System with AMSENSE to address future modernization and sustainment needs for U.S. Air Force mobility and training aircraft.
The project titled Versatile, Self-Contained Metal Additive Manufacturing for Global Operations will address the potential of Open Additive’s commercial product line to (1) build relevant parts in relevant materials, (2) collect in situ sensor data as an element of each part’s “digital thread”, and (3) be integrated in a complete self-contained environment to provide manufacturing capabilities at points of need. The effort is funded by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Command’s Mobility Directorate (AFLCMC/WL) through a competitive Commercial Solutions Opening solicitation and following Pitch Day. The contract period spans from August 2020 through November 2021.
This effort is the third project awarded this year to advance and demonstrate Open Additive’s open-architecture metal 3D printing solutions to address U.S. Air Force needs. Other projects include a $3M-effort sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory to develop an open quad-laser, large-format system and a $750k-effort sponsored by the Air Force Test Center to print simulated runway replicas for the AF Landing Gear Test Facility.
Source; Davide Sher, www.3dprintingmedia.network